BONSAI GARDENER Jim Peterson shows one of the 300 bonsai trees at his Penticton home. Peterson recently received the Bonsai Angel Award for his ongoing commitment to bonsai. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Penticton bonsai artist receives international award

Jim Peterson has been working with bonsai for around 30 years

Bonsai artist Jim Peterson has more than 300 bonsai plants at his home in Penticton.

The carefully pruned trees, some of them decades old, have been his passion for the past 30 years.

It’s a delicate balance when you are pruning trees,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience.”

Peterson has also promoted bonsai and has worked to organize the Penticton Bonsai Display for more than 20 years. He also organizes bonsai workshops and promotes bonsai whenever he can.

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Because of this dedication, he has received the international Bonsai Angel Award. The award was presented during a social event between the Penticton and Kelowna bonsai clubs in July.

The Bonsai Angel Award is given to an individual who promotes bonsai, organizes shows or workshops and shares knowledge, experience and artistic talent with those interested in learning more about bonsai.

Peterson’s interest in bonsai started after he retired, when he saw bonsai displays in Kelowna. Soon afterward, he found a book about bonsai, studied it, and began pruning trees for himself.

“Part of bonsai is trying to make it look like a natural tree,” he said.

The small trees have intricate curves and angles, the result of pruning or using wires to position the tree trunks and branches.

He added that working with the trees requires an ongoing commitment.

“The trees need daily care. You’ve got to work with them every day,” he said. “I enjoy working on the trees, not just having them.”

For those interested in bonsai, Peterson suggests reading and learning about it before beginning.

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